USA TODAY US Edition
Plenty of NHL deals could be yet to come
Many big names moved, but search for help continues
Monday’s NHL trade deadline (3 p.m. ET) might lack its usual pizazz because general managers elected to do their shopping early this year. The market was short on sellers, and buyers wanted to make sure they found everything on their lists.
Eric Staal (New York Rangers), Andrew Ladd and Dale Weise (Chicago Blackhawks), Jiri Hudler (Florida Panthers), Justin Schultz (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Kris Versteeg (Los Angeles Kings) are among the players who were moved in recent days, leaving a weaker-than-expected market for deadline day. The available players receiving the most attention:
Left wing Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins: Given that the Bruins are in a major battle to qualify for the playoffs, it’s hard to believe they are going to deal Eriksson, who has been one of their essential scorers. They recently offered him a contract extension, but no agreement was reached. They would like to get value for him. The best-case scenario would be if the Bruins could use him as a chip in acquiring a proven defenseman.
Defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks: He’s a veteran two-way defender who probably could move into the second pairing of several contenders. He is a perfect fit for the Dallas Stars. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and would like to re-sign with Vancouver. He could accept a trade and rejoin the Canucks this summer.
Left wing Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning: He’s intriguing because he is a young, talented player who has asked to be traded. He is fast and skilled but hasn’t proved he can be an impact player. The Lightning are contenders and would like to turn Drouin into a player who can help them now and in the future.
Right wing Mikkel Boedker, Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes tried to re-sign him, but it appears he’s going to test the free agent market. The Coyotes are in contention, but they need the as- sets trading him would bring. With 13 goals and 39 points, Boedker is among Arizona’s most dangerous forwards. The Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild are among those looking for scoring help.
Defenseman Kris Russell, Calgary Flames: Winning in the playoffs is all about defense, and Russell leads the NHL with 3.4 blocked shots per game. The Bruins are looking for a defenseman. Russell would be a good fit for Claude Julien’s coaching style.
Left wing Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets: The feisty, emotional scorer definitely could help a contender. The drawback is Hartnell, 33, has three seasons left on a contract paying $4.75 million a season.
Left wing Jamie McGinn, Buffalo Sabres: He is a consolation prize for those who lost out on Ladd and Weise. McGinn has 14 goals and 113 hits, similar numbers to those of Ladd and Weise. The Sabres might get a second-round pick for him.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles, Carolina Hurricanes: He could be a low-cost option for teams looking to add a depth defenseman. He’s not going to command the same return as Hamhuis or Russell.
Right wing Radim Vrbata, Canucks: Teams will remember that he scored 31 goals two seasons ago while trying to forget that he has struggled at times this season. He has been hurt lately.